Thursday, January 21, 2010

A (rare) word about politics

Okay; I don't generally talk about electoral politics here, because ... well, damn. I only mention steaming piles of dog poo on the blog because they're a regular part of my life here. Electoral politics is far more distasteful and I've gone to some lengths to make it not a part of my life.

And yet as a spectator sport it's better than pro wrestling, and right now the two opposing teams have got themselves in a bit of a bind. The Dems are tanking in the mercurial public perception far too early for the disasters of the late GOP dominance to have been forgotten. The American attention span isn't quite that short. Normally when one party's numbers crash, the other party's numbers corresponding rise. Not happening at the moment.

Matt Welch over at Reason said yesterday,
[T]he tragicomedy of American politics is that each party looks pretty freaking awesome when compared to its counterpart. As bad as Bush was, Obama may well be worse. As rotten as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are, just remember Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert. Now reverse the party affiliations and repeat.
It's been that way for decades at least and always seemed to work for the parties. But at the moment the pendulum seems to have stopped swinging.

Obama's campaign motto wasn't "We can do all the same things, even more expensively!" but that's the way he's governed, with the enthusiastic backing of Congress. There's nothing very unusual about that, but the bad consequences usually take at least two years to kick in, permitting the forgetful electorate to convince itself that the New Bastards are somehow different from the Old (current) Bastards. In this case the consequences just sort of carried on, and the Parties are revealed as nothing more than a muddled bunch of entrenched bastards with nothing to choose between them. That's not supposed to happen. There's no savior waiting in the wings.

If there were a third party this could get interesting. But there isn't, and most congressional (and virtually all senatorial) voting districts have long been structured as so safe for one party or another that the two-party paradigm may as well be etched in steel. At least that's the way it's supposed to work. That undistinguished oaf who ran for Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts was so sure the dems had a lock on it that she didn't even bother to run, and the voters handed her an unthinkable outcome - they gave it to the other undistinguished oaf. That was so not supposed to happen that the dems didn't even seem to notice it happening until a day before the election. That was fun to watch, in a gruesome sort of way.

The only positive outcome I can imagine from all this would be if a much larger part of the electorate shook off the programming and realized that the left wing and the right wing are both attached to the same stinking carrion bird and stopped encouraging the bastards. That's so unlikely as to be incontheivable. The misconception that elections (between the same entrenched parties, world without end) are the only way to affect the course of the country is as unchangeable in most people as the respiration of oxygen - it'll never go away until something truly monumental happens to change it, and I can't imagine what that could be.

EDIT: Speaking of reactions to the Massachusetts election, W clued me in to this last evening:

4 comments:

The Grey Lady said...

O.K.

Just to prove how massively inattentive to detail I am, when did you change from "Joel" to the "Crazy old Beardo" or did I just slide to an alternative dimension with out realizing it?

Some Crazy Old Beardo said...

Heh - just my Blogger.com illiteracy showing. I was playing with one of the sidebar boxes and the results were rather more global than I intended. I'll be changing that back.

The Grey Lady said...

I thought it was funny and rather clever.

AS to the video you had to know that one was coming NO? It never fails to entertain for some Bizzaro reason. I will see your Hitler video and raise you one American Lie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2scxJNXjMI

The natives are in a celebratory mood after a "good" day at the Coliseum, I am sure it will be short lived.

CorbinKale said...

Great vid. Obama kept one campaign promise, though. He DID get a dog.